Classroom-ready resources and other supports to help you explore the largest-ever collection of Canadian kids books

Blog

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Pondering the “What If” with Shari Green & Caroline Pignat

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

This is the third pair in a series of interviews with a host of Forest of Reading authors interviewed by Erika MacNeil, Teacher-Librarian at Rogers PS in Newmarket, ON (York Region District School board). Catch up with the first pair, featuring Vicki Grant and Kevin Sylvester, and the second pair, featuring Deborah Ellis and Richard Scrimger.

During this time of self-isolation and social distancing, books can sometimes be our only companions as the days stretch before us, looping in a Groundhog Day cycle of repetition. Take comfort knowing that creative endeavours such as reading are the brain’s brilliant means of maintaining its elasticity and responsiveness, because imagination accesses both the linear and emotional landscape of experience.

I decided to combine Shari Green and Caroline Pignat’s interview responses because I love how they are both in caregiving professions, Caroline being an English teacher of Irish descent residi …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Eric Walters' New Book Explores the "Now Normal"

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written, published and released during a pandemic: Eric Walters defies traditional publishing norms to create a book for young people living through the COVID-19 era. Don’t Stand So Close to Me, a middle-grade novel about a group of preteens forced into isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic, is now available from Orca Book Publishers.

Read more about the book and download the free accompanying teacher’s guide.

Please enjoy this interview with Eric Walters, written by York Region District School Board Teacher-Librarian Geoffrey Ruggero.

***

When dealing with an unprecedented time in their lives, where do teachers, parents, and students turn when they need someone to share their experiences? An author, of course. But not j …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: A New Way to Celebrate the Forest of Reading

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by York Region District School Board Teacher-Librarian Jennifer Byrne

Forest of Reading is Canada’s largest recreational reading program, celebrating Canadian books and authors. In the eyes of Canadian kids, it is the ultimate expression of student voice, as they have all the power in determining the winners. For many students, the Forest of Reading program is a highlight of their school year. Our school is no exception. From the moment students first begin visiting our school library in September, they are already asking, “When do we get to be judges?” “When do we get to vote?” In our library, we typically don’t begin Forest of Reading until after we return from the Winter break, so to see the excitement in students as early as September, is something special.

Many schools and public libraries choose to run the Forest program in different ways as educators have the freedom to integrate it into library and classroom …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Time to Slow Down, with Deborah Ellis & Richard Scrimger

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

This is the second pair in a series of interviews with a host of Forest of Reading authors interviewed by Erika MacNeil, Teacher-Librarian at Rogers PS in Newmarket, ON (York Region District School board). Catch up with the first pair, featuring Vicki Grant and Kevin Sylvester.

I met Deborah Ellis back in 1998 when she had just returned from one of many trips to Afghanistan where she was doing research for The Breadwinner. She came to share her experiences and I was struck with her fierce determination to carve a story that was both authentic and readable to as many readers as she could reach. Deborah’s extraordinary novels such as Looking For X and I Am A Taxi take a hard look at a variety of social justice issues, and the human condition is always at the heart of her storytelling.

I met Richard Scrimger when he came to my school for an author visit. Richard’s books have been nominated many times over for various awards (Zomboy, Th …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Personal Picks from Your Local Librarian

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that takes a look at how teachers and librarians are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by Linda Ludke, Collections Management Librarian, London Public Library

It has now been over eight weeks since my public library closed its physical doors—but our virtual doors are always open. I’ve found some of the connection that I was pining for in my last post by working on our online book and reader matchmaker service called Personal Picks. Families write in asking for book suggestions, and I’ve been having a ball sending email letter replies and chatting about books. 

I’ve always loved writing letters, from formal thank you cards, to notes scribbled on ripped-out binder paper passed around in class, to fan mail (Timothy Findley and Carol Shields wrote me back!). I gleefully collected pen pals the way other kids collected puffy stickers. When I think about it, writing a letter is like telling a story—you play around with ways to hold a reader’s attention, and figure out form and tone of voice. My …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Writing in the Time of Corona, with Vicki Grant & Kevin Sylvester

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

This is the first pair in a series of eight interviews with a host of Forest of Reading authors interviewed by Erika MacNeil, Teacher-Librarian at Rogers PS in Newmarket, ON (York Region District School board).

I love running the Forest of Reading Program with my students, not only because it celebrates Canadian authors, but also because those same Canadian authors are so accessible and approachable. They truly love and appreciate their readers and are happy to share their creative process as much as we love reading their books.

Screen Shot 2020-05-06 at 1.36.54 PM

I met Vicki Grant when she came to my school for an author visit to help promote the Secrets series in 2015. We became friends across the distance when she returned home to Nova Scotia. She has been …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Mental Wellness, E-Learning, and Doing Our Best

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by Peel District School Board Teacher Toni Duval

My last day at work was Friday, March 13, 2020. At that time we didn’t know our March Break would become Emergency Distance Learning. As a Teacher Librarian I didn’t know I should pull every amazing read aloud I could off my shelves and stuff them in my van. I didn’t know the impact that COVID-19 would have on my family, my staff and my students.

Here’s what I do know:

FAMILY

Throughout March Break my anxiety began to rise as the impact of COVID-19 on our lives began to sink in. Prime Minister Trudeau held a press conference everyday, and no matter how calm and reassuring he was I could not stop the feelings of being overwhelmed and sad, the knot in my neck growing tighter everyday. I read an article about how many of our feelings were in part due to grief, for the things we were losing (like return to work, our regular routines, visiting family and friends). This made sense …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: How are Public Libraries & Librarians Responding to the Crisis?

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a blog series that looks at how educators and librarians are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by Linda Ludke, librarian, London Public Library

It has now been over a month since my public library closed. I’ve tried several times to write this post, but my thoughts keep jumping all around as the ever-changing realities of this new world continue to sink in. My attention span is at a low, and I’m a jingly, jangly mass of misspent energy. I certainly haven’t learned a new language, taken up a long-neglected hobby, or baked bread; but I did take a shower today and can remember what day of the week it is, so I’m celebrating small victories.

One of the things I’m trying to grapple with is how much we are affected when we can no longer connect in person. Public libraries are all about community, accessibility, and engagement. Inside our walls we share not only books, but ideas, conversations, technology, resources, support, programs, information, and a public space that is freely welcome to all.

Ever since our …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Three Middle Grade Novels to Nurture Student Connection

Welcome to the fourth post in the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic.

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by York Region District School Board Teacher-Librarian Geoffrey Ruggero

If you’re looking for middle grade reads with strong, inspirational, female protagonists, then pick up any one of these absorbing novels by Michelle Kadarusman. She combines her intimate knowledge of places she has called home, with elements of art and nature, and the difficulties of growing up, to create stories that create a connection between reader and character.

Whether sneaking around a quiet library, dealing with the hustle and bustle of a big city market, or standing in the depths of a jungle, Kadarusman’s intense attention to detail makes the reader feel as though they are immersed in the setting. Students will be swept away to different parts of the world in each of her novels, and they will no doubt look to make deeper connections to the learning that comes with reading her books.

During a time when teachers are looking f …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: Equity & Access for All Students

diarybanner_650w

Welcome to the third post in the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic. What does daily life look like for teachers right now? What’s working in the new world of online classrooms, and what’s not? What can parents do at home with their kids? How can educators, parents, and students all cope with overwhelm, communicate more effectively, and support one another?

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by Peel District School Board Teacher-Librarian Jonelle St. Aubyn

When the news came in that school would be closed for an additional two weeks after the March Break, I was a little stunned but not terribly concerned. Not because I wasn’t taking the outbreak of COVID–19 seriously, but because I had hope that it would be under control soon and that we would all be returning to work after this extended break. The next morning at school, I announced to my students that there would be no limit on the number of books that they could take out and that no fines would be accrued over the time that they were off. At my sc …

Continue reading »

COVID–19 Teacher Diary: An Achievable, Accessible #ActivityOfTheDay

diarybanner_650w

Welcome to the second post in our 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic. What does daily life look like for teachers right now? What’s working in the new world of online classrooms, and what’s not? What can parents do at home with their kids? How can educators, parents, and students all cope with overwhelm, communicate more effectively, and support one another?

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written by York Region District School Board Teacher-Librarian Jennifer Byrne

The times we find ourselves in right now are uncertain and unprecedented. But what always sticks with me is this saying from Fred Rogers: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster’, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers—so many caring people in this world."

It is clear that for the disaster the world is experiencing right now, the frontli …

Continue reading »

Introducing the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Crisis Teacher Diary

diarybanner_650w

Welcome to the 49th Teachers COVID–19 Teacher Diary, a new blog series that takes a look at how teachers are coping with the pandemic. What does daily life look like for teachers right now? What’s working in the new world of online classrooms, and what’s not? What can parents do at home with their kids? How can educators, parents, and students all cope with overwhelm, communicate more effectively, and support one another?

Sign up to get new Teacher Diary posts in your inbox as they’re published.

Thank you for reading. If you’re an Ontario educator and would like to contribute to this series, please send us an email.

***

Written on March 28, 2020, by Peel District School Board Teacher-Librarian Allison Hall

It’s day fourteen of my family’s self isolation and I’m struggling to maintain a schedule and a little bit of normalcy. I have a never ending list of ‘I shoulds’—I should clean the house, I should paint the cupboards, I should update my library website with home activities for students—but I can’t find the motivation needed to complete any of these tasks.

I spent the week of March Break in a state of shock and panic. There were knots in my stomach and chest that wouldn’t loosen. I convinced myself that I was physically unwell. I woke up ea …

Continue reading »